Outside attacker Tobi Azeez wasn’t available for a large portion of the regular season, but the Australian Men’s National Team member came through for Mount Olive in the postseason.
Azeez finished with a team-high 20 kills on a .421 attack percentage as Mount Olive defeated Belmont Abbey 20-25, 25-19, 25-20, 23-25, 15-10 in the ConfCarolinas Tournament quarterfinals on Wednesday in Mount Olive, North Carolina.
Azeez, a Preseason All-American and a finalist for the 2021 Division II National Player of the Year, was used sparingly throughout the second half of the regular season and missed eight matches. This also was the outside attacker’s third start since late February.
Along with the offensive performance against the Crusaders, Azeez had an ace as part of a 3-0 run to close out the match in the decisive fifth game. Azeez led all players with three aces to help the Trojans advance to the ConfCarolinas Tournament semifinals.
Mount Olive won the fifth game, despite being limited to two kills and a zero attack percentage. Belmont Abbey in the final game committed five service errors and had seven attack errors.
Mount Olive out-hit Belmont Abbey .274 to .228 and had three players with double-digit kills. Pedro Gonzalez contributed 11 kills on a .450 attack percentage, while Tyran Gillespie had 12 kills.
Belmont Abbey outside attacker Matteo Miselli in the season-ending loss had a match-high 26 kills and hit .395.
This performance also extended Miselli’s streak to four consecutive ConfCarolinas Tournament matches with at least 20 kills dating back to last season. Miselli had 20 kills in the 2021 ConfCarolinas Tournament finals to help Belmont Abbey upset Mount Olive for the conference title.
Mount Olive is attempting to qualify to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history and will play host to King in the ConfCarolinas Tournament semifinals on Friday. Mount Olive will serve as the host site for both semifinal matches and the finals.